Hello from Canmore, Alberta—a resort town nestled around the feet of Canada’s Rocky Mountains. While my partner works her way through a two-week wilderness first-aid course, I’ve been left to my own devices to wander the town, the woods, and the mountains that surround it on all sides. Given my surroundings, I don’t think that there’ll ever be a better time for us to talk about using your iPhone or iPad’s GPS to navigate.
Apps like Apple Maps, Navigon, and Google Maps are great solutions for finding your way around, provided your adventures don’t involve straying farther than marked roadways, gas stations, or coffee shops. But wander out Wi-Fi or cellular range, or go somewhere other than a known road or well-worn footpath, and they kind of suck. They’re all kinds of terrible at showing the sort of topographical information that you’d find useful on a hike.